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NBAD’s Swiss Unit Targets 10 Billion Francs Client Assets

National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC plans to increase the size of its Swiss wealth unit to 10 billion Swiss francs ($10.6 billion) under management over five years, according to Chief Executive Officer Michael Tomalin.

The United Arab Emirates’ second-biggest bank’s Geneva-based unit oversees about 2 billion francs after it started in 2007 to provide wealth-management services for international clients with at least 10 million francs of investable assets, Tomalin told reporters in Geneva.

“I’m very happy with the progress so far,” Abu Dhabi-based Tomalin said. “Traditionally banks from our part of the world haven’t really been in the business” of private banking, he said.

The world’s 20 largest wealth managers are all based in North America or Europe, according to a ranking compiled by London-based Scorpio Partnership. Increasingly, the stability and balance-sheet strength of Middle East-owned banks will attract rich private clients concerned about protecting their assets in “difficult times,” Tomalin said.

NBAD’s Swiss subsidiary has individual clients of more than 50 nationalities and also oversees about 500 million francs for two institutional customers, head of Switzerland Khaled Suleiman said. The firm, which reported profit in excess of 3 million francs in 2011, controls about 15 percent of client funds through discretionary mandates, he said.

Discretionary mandates give managers more autonomy to act on their clients’ behalf without checking each investment decision.

Tomalin, who oversaw global private banking at Barclays Plc before joining NBAD in 1999, will step down from his position, the company reported in March. The search for a replacement is ongoing and he’ll stay in the position for “as long as it takes to find the right successor,” Tomalin said.

NBAD doesn’t disclose the total assets under management for wealth-management customers worldwide.

“As private banking and wealth management continues to grow strongly within the NBAD group, these will become key performance indicator figures for future years and externally published,” said Ehab Khairi, an Abu Dhabi-based spokesman for the bank. “Global wealth is a small part of the NBAD group but a fast-growing segment.”

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